The beginning of a new Diet session is marked by the Opening Ceremony, which is presided over by the speaker of the House of Representatives and held in the chamber of the House of Councillors in the presence of His Majesty the Emperor. On such an occasion, it is customary for the speaker of the House of Representatives to make the ceremonial address on behalf of both houses, while His Majesty offers his own message. In ordinary and extraordinary sessions, the Opening Ceremony is held within a few days of the date of convocation; in a special session, it is held after the new Cabinet has been organized.
After the Opening Ceremony, the ministers of state deliver speeches before a plenary sitting of each house. In an ordinary session, the prime minister delivers an address on general policy, the minister of foreign affairs an address on foreign policy, the minister of finance an address on finance, the director general of the Economic Planning Agency an address on economic policy; in a special or extraordinary session, the prime minister and, when necessary, other ministers of state, give addresses. Members ask questions after these addresses, on behalf of their respective parties.
<<Return to Diet functions